Ex Soldier told he must "prove Britishness"

Don't know if this one has been done, don't think so, but what the F*CK is going on when a man returns from sunnier climes, on his arrse (regardless of who's fault it was), is refused any help whatsoever and is told he has to PROVE that he is British?

I would have thought the fact that the entire family hold British Passports and that he used to have an MOD 90 would have been pretty convincing!!


Like the man says, if he would have "lost" his passports and claimed asylum, he would have been treated a hell of a lot better.

It happens you should know this. As soon as Government agencies find out your in the Forces then you're fcuked. Accept it. Never mind the fact that you spill sweat blood and tears for them. Never mind you may have witnessed the maiming or killing of your best mates who suffered in their name. Never mind the families and friends who have to get on with their lives. Most importantly never mind the brave men and women who wake up, don a uniform, fight for a better way of life not knowing how they will come home.

If however you are one of those who have sworn to murder those who wear a uniform then you dont have to prove your Britishness. You'll be welcome with open arms, money, a house and all the other goodies.
How bizarre! I'm sure that there is no citizenship requirement to obtain benefits, as long as you have the right to stay in the UK.

I'd be most peed off if I moved back to the UK and was asked to prove my Britishness, mind you with my accent there's no mistaking my origins.
Nothing new here. My old man was born in India (parents both born England), joined army in 1917. Joined TA in 1930, served in Brit Army throughout WW2 (as a reservist). Could never get a full UK Passport because his birth certificate was lost and the registry destroyed in a fire in Calcutta. There is one rule to remember in life, the bureacracy is only logical by its own standards.
From the comments.. I think this bloke missed the point..........

"Kevin Smeaton said: May 31st, 2008 at 3:16 am For one who now lives in Australia (after serving 6 years in the RAF), I wouldn’t just return to the UK and expect the country to subsidize my stuff ups from having tried to live overseas.

They made there bed and they have to live in it. Yes one would have paid taxes and national insurance but that doesn’t give someone the right to think they can return and the red carpet will be rolled out for them?"


Entitled to his views I suppose ........Tosser! :roll:


Family face british test unlike most of the express and stars potential readership then!
I expect this is partly a made up story. Presentation of a UK passport with British Citizen inside proves you are British, end of story. I expect he hasn't kept up his NI contributions while working in Spain and is not entitled to certain benefits will be something closer to the truth.
Ord_Sgt said:
I expect this is partly a made up story. Presentation of a UK passport with British Citizen inside proves you are British, end of story. I expect he hasn't kept up his NI contributions while working in Spain and is not entitled to certain benefits will be something closer to the truth.
Almost certainly the case, although I don't put anything past the trolls infesting our public services nowadays; they're only there to boost the New Labour constituency, in large part, which means that all of the New Labour thoughtlaws apply.
I was born of British parents outside the UK, and apart from a full career in the Army have mostly worked elsewhere, while living in NI. This has excluded me from working with our security services, to whom I applied some years ago for a job that seemed to be a natural progression from what I was doing at the time. As I hadn't been working in the UK for over 4 (IIRC) years, I found that I was automatically barred.
An immigrant from the former East Germany, Afghanistan or Nigeria, however, who had lived in the UK for the same period, would have been quite acceptable, and probably sought after in the name of 'diversity'.
As an ex Int Corps WO, I found that situation not merely insulting, but the result of surrealistically Orwellian, politically motivated incompetence. And who could possibly label our current Government with those terms?
Hes been caught out by legislation known as the "habitual Residence Test"
I think the DWP staff are in the wrong but since most of the trained staff have been paid off its not surprising they got it wrong.
This is the Citizens Advice Bureau's explanation of the legislation and I got lost before I was half way through the notes in the Rights Handbook used by welfare rights officers, so its no wonder the jobcentre staff haven't got a clue - try & decipher this - it was introduced in 1994 so I think that was John Majors government but can't really remember - if he goes to his local CAB or MP he might get a result but not sure -

The Social Security (Habitual Residence) Amendment Regulations 2004



1. The Citizens Advice Service deals with over 1.5 million cases each year relating to social security benefits and tax credits. Many of these cases are time consuming because of the complexity of the benefits system, and the poor standard of administration and decision-making often shown by the operational agencies of DWP. Cases involving the habitual residential test are invariably difficult to deal with because the rules are unclear and there is so little transparency about the way in which they are applied and the degree to which unguided discretion will affect the outcome.

2. The Habitual Residence test itself was introduced in 1994 to prevent ‘benefit tourists’. In the ten years since that time however, CAB advisors have assisted many British nationals with full rights to live and work in the UK, but left without any financial assistance as a result of the way the test has been applied. In our report on its first year of operation we argued that the scheme had backfired and should be abolished. We are disappointed that the Government is proposing to add amendments to a test that is itself ripe for comprehensive review.

3. We would very much welcome a properly conducted review of the rules, with an opportunity for considered consultation and discussion. This is particularly important as the proposed changes are likely to have most impact on those who are most vulnerable – widows, lone parents, older people and people who become incapacitated and unable to work. Unfortunately, considered consultation and debate is not what is offered at this point in time. Instead the DWP is planning to bring in new regulations to redefine the habitual residence test, in a great hurry, to be in place for the accession of new member states to the European Union on 1 May 2004. The time allowed for consultation on these complex regulations is grossly inadequate.

4. It is a matter of particular concern that, by introducing the “Right to Reside” test, the draft regulations change the habitual residence test for a much wider range of people than the nationals of the 8 accession states (A8 states) about which the government is concerned. Nationals of existing EEA states who are not economically active will lose the right that they have at present to be entitled to income-related UK benefits if they can establish that they are habitually resident in the Common Travel Area.

5. This change seems particularly likely to impact adversely on retired people from EEA countries who come to live in the UK post-retirement, perhaps to be near to relatives, and then suffer a change of circumstances which means that they need to claim income-related benefits. The proposals will mean that older people from EEA countries who have been settled in the UK for a long time could suddenly find themselves destitute and forced to leave the UK after they have made their home here. It is difficult to believe that the government wishes to treat older people - who may be frail and disabled - in this way, but the proposals appear to make no provision for a consideration of humanitarian needs in such cases. There can be no justification for altering the rules for these people in such a hurried manner that does not allow proper consideration of the issues. We consider that all aspects of these draft regulations that are not concerned directly with the Government’s intention to restrict the rights to social security benefits of nationals of A8 states should be scrapped until proper consultation and communication of their full implications can be considered.

Right to Reside

6. Paragraph 8 of the Explanatory memorandum explain that the Government intends to introduce a further requirement for a person to be treated as habitually resident for income related benefits. This is that the person must have the right to reside in the Common Travel Area, that is the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or the Republic of Ireland. Our understanding is that the suggested amendments will not change the current rules for nationals of the Common Travel Area, or third country (non-EEA) nationals. Nor will it affect EEA nationals who are ‘workers’ or ‘work-seekers’ or others who are qualified persons and have a right of residence. People within these categories will have a ‘right to reside’ and will not be affected by the changes. However, citizens of member states who are not working or seeking work would need to prove that they have sufficient resources to avoid them becoming an unreasonable burden on the UK benefit system before they would have the right of residence.

7. Currently EEA nationals are able to claim means-tested benefits (regardless of whether or not they have a right of residence) once it is accepted that they are habitually resident in the Common Travel Area. EEA nationals are excluded from the definition of persons subject to immigration control (PSIC) in s115A Immigration and asylum Act 1999 so cannot be refused benefit on the grounds that they are not British nationals. Benefit entitlement is limited to those claimants who are habitually resident in the UK by Reg 21 Income Support (General) Regulations, Reg 85 Job Seekers Allowance Regulations 1996, Reg 4A Council Tax Benefit (General) Regulations 1992 and Reg 7A Housing Benefit (General) Regulations 1987. These regulations provide that a person not habitually resident is a ‘person from abroad’ and so not entitled to benefit.

8. The Rights of Residence Directives provide for students, retired people or other economically inactive citizens to have a right of residence, subject to them having sufficient resources to support themselves and avoid becoming an unreasonable burden on the host state. It is not clear how the Government intend to define ‘sufficient resources’ and at what point residents would be considered to be an ‘unreasonable burden’.

9. Paragraph 18 of the amendments guide gives an example of a person likely to be refused benefit under the proposals (case study 2) but does not give further guidance. Nor does the guide suggest what measures will be in place to protect a person from destitution whilst they arrange to return to their home state. In the example given for case study 2 the widow in question may or may not have some income with which to cover her essential living expenses and may or may not have the ability to fund a return to the home state. What would a recently bereaved widow do if she had no money and no savings? The guide suggests that she would not receive benefits so could be left without income.

10. The amending regulations leave a decision as to whether an individual has a right to reside and entitlement to benefit entirely at the discretion of a decision maker. Although guidance will no doubt be issued to assist decision makers, it would be fairer and more transparent if the regulations provided more specific rules. Too much discretion always runs the risk of there being a postcode lottery.

Economically Inactive People from the EEA

11. Whilst the amendments give some protection to existing benefit claimants, they do not provide any protection to EEA nationals currently in the UK who could lose resources and be placed in a position of needing to make a claim for benefit to survive. If the Government is determined to go ahead with the present proposals, and is not prepared to allow time for a proper consideration of the issues relating to the access of this group to UK income-related benefits, we consider that it should at least include provision in the regulations to provide specifically for EEA nationals in this position. For example, to make provision for awards on humanitarian grounds for established residents or to make time limited awards of benefit to avoid hardship in situations where a citizen loses the right to reside because they no longer have the resources to be self-sufficient.

12. We understand that although all claimants of income related benefits will have to be able to prove they have the ‘right to reside’ only people who have entered or returned to the UK in the last 2 years will be asked to prove their right when making a benefit application. This would at least mean that EEA nationals who have been resident in the CTA for many years would not be subject to the test for every application they make, the regulations themselves do not offer protection for these EEA residents.

13. Transitional arrangements protect EEA residents who have an entitlement to income related benefits before 1 May. Case study 3 illustrates how a widow who moved to the UK in August 2003 and lived on her husband’s pension would be entitled to pension credit when he died six months later and continue to be entitled to it beyond 1 May and for the duration of her claim. However, we are concerned that the transitional arrangements only protect claimants for the duration of a particular claim period. If their claim is broken because of a short period visiting relatives overseas, they may return to find that they are no longer entitled to claim benefit and no longer have a right to reside.

14. Other groups whose position is likely to be made more vulnerable as a result of the ‘right to reside’ test will be people who are currently entitled to claim income support, on the grounds of ill health, disability as well as lone parents. EEA nationals who separate from a partner who supports them financially may find themselves suddenly homeless without any means of support.

15. What makes this even more worrying is that because the rules are complex and based on guidance rather than fully covered in legislation it will be difficult for advisors to advise EEA nationals as to the likely impact on them as individuals. It will also be difficult to assess exactly who is likely to be the target audience for the DWP to communicate the changes to. We strongly feel, however, that this complexity will not be sufficient grounds for failing to implement a proper communication strategy.

Definitions of ‘sufficient’ means

16. It is concerning that there has been no attempt to define what this may mean and whether it may have different definitions for different groups of people. Whilst there are indications that the DWP will want to take similar income definitions across the board, it is uncertain what this will mean in reality. Judgements will be made on an individual basis and factors such as the temporary nature of the ‘burden’ taken into account. It is difficult to see how a similar definition of means could be applied to a pensioner who will not be able to work again and a student or lone parent whose need for support is more likely to be temporary in nature. Whilst these definitions will rely on guidance and caselaw it is entirely likely that decisions could well be arbitrary and appeals common.

17. CAB evidence frequently illustrates that where decision makers have to make difficult discretionary decisions based on guidance, informal patterns of rules develop. In relation to the habitual residence test, bureaux report that claimants frequently automatically fail the test if they have been in the country less than three months. A bureau in London reported that last year they saw many EU citizens and British citizens who, having returned from living abroad were told that they would get no benefit for six months - on one occasion, a claimant was given this advice and still refused after six months. They eventually managed to assist him in getting Minimum Income Guarantee on appeal. Whilst the benchmark is usually three months, a claimant can be considered to be habitually resident after one month and six months is not acceptable standard time period.

18. Other factors that might contribute to determining whether someone is habitually residence are too often ignored. We are concerned that too many claimants will in the first instance fail the ‘right to reside’ test and then later win on appeal.

Workers from A8 countries.

19. Paragraphs 39 and 40 explain how workers will be entitled to in-work benefits such tax credits, subject to the normal rules of entitlement such as the hours rules. As registered workers they would also be entitled to claim housing benefit and council tax benefit. However, it is not clear in either the draft Home Office regulations or in these draft regulations, how many hours a week would have to be worked for someone to be considered to be a ‘worker’. Although the DWP indicates that it will not automatically exclude part-time workers from entitlement to means-tested benefits it seems that clear guidelines are needed as to what number of hours would constitute ‘working’. Whilst it seems that this decision may depend on the level of assistance that would be required and for how long, without more detail claimants will be left in a very uncertain and insecure position.

20. We are concerned that the lack of access to income related benefits on the loss of a job could leave A8 workers in an unequal and indeed more vulnerable position in the labour market to their colleagues. Whilst all workers face less employment protection in the first twelve months of employment, the position of A8 workers will be more vulnerable since the loss of their job would threaten their right of residence. We are concerned that whilst workers would be protected in legislation against unfair dismissal on the grounds of race, sex or disability or religion, it may be very difficult for them to operate this right and access a tribunal whilst having no access to financial support in the UK.

A8 nationals currently seeking asylum and receiving support from the National Asylum Support Service (NASS)

21. We are deeply concerned to note the absence of any social security regulations in respect of transitional provisions for the support of the more than 3,000 A8 nationals (and dependants) with an outstanding application for asylum in the UK who are currently supported by the National Asylum Support Service (NASS). NASS has indicated that its support for these individuals will cease on 30 April. In our view, it is at least arguable that NASS is empowered to continue to support asylum seekers who become EEA nationals where it would be proportionate and consistent with international obligations to do so. However, it is likely that this particular matter will only be resolved by the courts (as a result of applications to the courts for relief) some time after 1 May. Therefore, we believe that the social security regulations should provide for temporary provisions for this group.


22. Citizens Advice would like to see a comprehensive review of the Habitual Residence Test as it currently stands and a full analysis of the likely impact of all of the proposed changes on all relevant claimant groups. Does the test currently served the purpose for which it was designed? How would the introduction of the right of residence test impact current EEA residents of the CTA? Until this time we do not believe the Government should introduce changes that would affect non-A8 EEA nationals.

23. We are concerned about the lack of detail contained in the regulations. The issues addressed in the regulations are very complex and claimants would be better protected if they contained more specific rules. We would like to see, for example more detail on what would count as ‘sufficient resources’ to give non-economically active EEA nationals the right to reside. We would like to see more information about how many hours work would give someone the status of a ‘worker’ and on what basis they might receive Jobseeker’s Allowance to supplement earnings from part-time work.

24. If the Government is determined to go ahead with the changes, we urge that it consider extending the provisions to ensure that no one is left without any financial means. The case examples given in the Explanatory memorandum indicate where EEA nationals may not be found to have the right to reside. By the very nature, those who are economically inactive are most likely to be vulnerable and we seek assurances that no-one will be left without any financial assistance at all. (See paragraph 9.)

25. Transitional arrangements should be extended to all EEA nationals who are habitually resident under the current rules on 30 April 2004 regardless of whether or not they were entitled to benefit at the time. (See paragraph 11.)

26. The Government should extend the regulations to provide temporary provisions to support A8 nationals who cease to receive support from the National Asylum Support Service on April 30.

27. We also urge that the Government should give consideration as to the impact of these changes to the employment rights of EEA nationals and carefully monitor the employment habits of all registered workers.
Firstly let me say that this is a silly situation, clearly held up by a pen pusher who hasn't learnt to makes descisions on their own. They have Passports for goodness sake!

Watch the video interview.

Lee tells us "First the woman said I had to be British, or prove that I was British, which obviously I was a bit angry about. Then I have to take a habitational residents test or something along them lines, they just point blankly refused to help me. I'm just really angry, I feel I'm being descriminated against for being British. (smirks)"

Then his Mum tells us, "They Bicker, they bicker between each other because they are fed up, they need their own little bit of space and especially having a 13 year old girl with 2 grown up boys, it's not very nice."

Then Lee goes on, " I can't get a job because I have no fixed abode, I can't get a bank account because I've no fixed abode, i'm sorry it winds me up."

I don't know Lee, despite my 23 years in the Corps, however I would have thought that he would know what test it was that he had to undertake.

He can't be being descriminated against because he is British, because they haven't recognised him as being British. :rolleyes:

His Mum should know that children do bicker, and if there are 2 grown up boys around, why aren't they out trying to get jobs?

Which brings me nicely to when Lee telling us he can't get a job or bank account because he is of no fixed abode....use your Mums address! and if you still have problems getting a bank account, get paid into your Mums account and sort it that way!

I take it he still has an NHS and NI number along with his Passport!

On a more controversial note,

Lets not forget that the welfare state wasn't set up to rescue ex-pats when things went wrong for them!

Lee might well be an ex-squaddie, but is he trying to ride on the current wave of sympathy for the troops serving in Iraq/Afghanistan and general conditions for members of our armed services, happening in the country at the moment?

Bet he didn't give them a seconds thought when he was in the sun running his bar!

Perhaps more to this than meets the eye!
Any chance of the AAC types helping out to muck in? I'll throw £30 if it helps.
Any chance of the AAC types helping out to muck in? I'll throw £30 if it helps.

Sorry, I must have missed the deal he had when he started his bar up, that gave free beers to squaddies or members of the Corps!

I'd rather spend £30 on my old pals when they come back from the sun, than to someone who has been sunning it up. (Another C-17 at BHX this morning!)

Does anyone here actually know him?
SilsoeSid said:
Any chance of the AAC types helping out to muck in? I'll throw £30 if it helps.

Sorry, I must have missed the deal he had when he started his bar up, that gave free beers to squaddies or members of the Corps!

I'd rather spend £30 on my old pals when they come back from the sun, than to someone who has been sunning it up. (Another C-17 at BHX this morning!)

Does anyone here actually know him?
Oh you're back, great...........

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